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Role of Parents in Career Guidance- How to help not hinder Career Choice for Students

role of parents in career guidance
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Role of Parents in Career Guidance- How to help not hinder Career Choice for Students

Parenting teenagers today is a challenging experience. It’s a steep learning curve for both parent and teenager when it comes to behavioural expectations, developmental changes and getting through the education system.

So what happens when you both contemplate what lies beyond the school gate?

Panic !

As a parent, you try to control your own anxiety, while your teenager either gives you a piece of their mind or slams the door behind them never wanting to talk to you again. Confusion and anxiety takes over both of you and you don’t know what to do.

Transitioning from high school can be a stressful time for parent and teenager. Colourful language usually fills your ordinarily quiet suburban home and text messaging can also get interesting.

It does not need to be this hard, in fact, it’s quite easy when both parent and teenager learn to understand what is involved in career decision making together. I use the word together because career research tells us that parents involvement in career planning is vital if teenagers are to achieve successful career choice making.

The labour market has changed dramatically from the days when you made your first career choice. Most parents did well going to university which guaranteed them well-paying middle-class career paths. Today, things have changed. With global competition that sees China and India producing university graduates at incredible rates, the school to university to corporate institution model may or may not work for your teenager. The offshoring of jobs continues and your teenager requires employability skills that keeps them relevant in a globally competitive workplace.

Globalisation and rapid daily technological changes cannot be swept under the carpet like it’s not going to affect your teenagers career prospects. It’s here to stay.

While these external environmental changes are taking place around you, another major change that is taking place is right in your home. It is the relationship between your teenager and yourself. As your teenager is leaving the education system, they are seeking to form a new relationship with you. Teenagers are seeking more independence, autonomy and are looking for parental support.

Discussions on career choice for students can sometimes reveal incompatible goals between you and your teenager. This then escalates to a struggle for control and recent research has shown it can damage your teenagers’ self-efficacy to make sound career choices.

Career Planning and Career Development is a joint action requiring you and your teenager to move through the transition together. Your teenager requires you to guide them to the resources they need to find their own answers. Your teenager’s values and goals may be different to yours. Don’t be tempted to influence your teenager with your career dreams for your child, this will not make your teenager resilient for the workplace they are about to set foot in.

For teenagers to make sound career choices for the 21st century, they need unconditional and unbiased parental support at all stages of the Career Development process. The role of parents in career guidance is a vital role and one that will determine the success that your teenager has in the new world of work.